Thursday, September 17, 2009


It is surprising how often miserable, but great, Welsh poet RS Thomas turns up in popular culture. The latest person to reference him is David Sylvian on his newly-released CD, Manafon. Thomas was rector of Manafon from 1942-54. It was there that he began to learn Welsh and where he published his first three volumes of poetry: The Stones of the Field, An Acre of Land and The Minister.

Here's what Sylvian says about the eponymous track in a press release: The closing track, Manafon, depicts the British poet RS Thomas. Sylvian explains that it is "a description of a man of faith, who struggles with that faith, who imposes an order on the external world in the hope of finding it internally. A man who embraces the morals and values of his faith and lives by them but who also struggles with the silence that burns inside his own heart and mind. God’s silence. He’s a man out of time who begins to look, on the surface, more like some tragicomic figure as time passes. While he seems to be an insufferable individual in many ways there’s a quixotic element in his quest for knowledge, for upholding morals and values that even he struggles with when it comes to believing in their efficacy."

I've not heard the CD yet but I understand it's quite bleak.